Minoxidil was originally used to treat blood pressure. Patients under this medications started experiencing unwanted growth of hair. Upjohn Pharmaceutical company began doing research on this side effect to determine if it could manage hair loss problem. Men who had baldness in the vertex area were applied the lotion form of minoxidil known as Rogaine and hair grew in that region. It was then approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a safe remedy for hair loss.
Initially, the drug was only used in the vertex area and only on men who suffered from hair loss. Recent studies have proved that the medication can be utilized in any region of the scalp with baldness. Hair will grow on any part of the body that comes to contact with Rogaine. Health professionals recommend that the drug should be used in its lotion form to treat hair loss to prevent the facial growth of hair. It has also shown some levels of toxicity for breastfeeding and pregnant women, therefore not recommended for lactating and expectant mothers.
It should be noted that this medication offers temporary relief for hair loss. Male baldness pattern is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) a byproduct of the male hormone testosterone. Drugs that provide permanent solution to hair loss are those that inhibit the activity of DHT in the apoptosis of hair follicles. Research has shown that minoxidil plays no role in the levels of DHT. Therefore it offers no permanent solution to hair loss. Reports indicate that people who stop using Rogaine go back to their male pattern baldness. What is it about minoxidil that stimulates hair regrowth?
The chemical composition of minoxidil is minoxidil as the active ingredient with propylene glycerol and water as the inactive components. The inactive components are said to play no role in the chemical action of the active ingredient. But in this case, propylene glycerol acts as a hair moisturizer to some extent.
Hair responses evoked by minoxidil
- Minoxidil is a vasodilator in nature.
It opens up and widens blood vessels increasing the flow and the volume of blood. One of the causes of hair loss is blood flow inadequacy to the scalp. The hair follicle needs to be nourished for it to grow and this nourishment comes from the nutrients carried by the blood to the scalp. Constriction of blood vessels in the scalp may be caused by calcium build up. Minodixil stimulates the vascularization of the dermal papilla cells (DPC) through the production of vascular endothelial growth factor(VEGF) in the human hair. VEGF is a protein that stimulates the growth of new blood cells. Vascularization, of the DPC, restores nourishment to the hair follicles which regenerates and grows. DPC are found at the base of the hair follicle a strategic location to nourish the whole hair strand.
- Minoxidil promotes the synthesis of DNA in hair follicles.
As mentioned above, vascularization brings about the growth of blood vessels to the dermal papilla cells. This nourishment brings about synthesis of DNA which activates the gene Lhx2 that is responsible for hair growth. The result is the growth of new and healthier hairs.
Mild Side effects of minoxidil include
- Weight gain
- Scalp eczema
See a doctor if you experience shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swelling of the face or the stomach.